Blind Citizens Australia submission Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport Review 2012: the public transport experiences of people who are blind or vision impaired May 2013

Poor connection between transport modes

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Poor connection between transport modes

“I reiterate the need for connections between different modes of transport”. ACT

“Getting from the train / bus station or stop to a taxi, the taxi might arrive at the other side of the rail-line, how do I know where the taxi is when there are multiple entrances? There is no one place to wait like a taxi rank at bus/train station. Other states have taxi ranks at one location like Perth's Kiss and Ride drop off zone, for cars dropping people off and where taxis wait for fares” Melbourne

Business decision which impact on accessibility

“Trains skip stations where a service is running late. Metro Trains in Melbourne change the stops that the train is scheduled to stop at which means that a person can be forced to get off at an unfamiliar stop. It is their policy which has been confirmed by speaking to their call centre”, Melbourne

“We have Smart Bus which has audible announcements and the ability to speed up or change traffic signals. The problem with these buses is that the announcement are hard to hear and can only be adjusted (volume) by the company that provides the system not the bus drivers or at the bus depot.  The announcements are automated not controlled by the drivers”, Melbourne

“Ironically, the [ticket] barriers are the barriers. A person with a free travel pass can’t use the automated ticket system as you cannot scan the pass. It appears that there has been an increasing use of [ticket] barriers since the Standards have come in. The Standards do specify width of gates but there is nothing about alternative arrangements in the Standards” ACT

“Track works or incidents on the train network, it is difficult to use rail replacement buses and knowing where to find these alternative buses. There is also times when the buses don't connect with the trains or the other way around trains don't match up with buses”, Brisbane

What do you currently see as the greatest areas of need regarding the accessibility of public transport for people with disability, particularly people who are blind or vision impaired?

Many of the same issues which have been explored extensively in this report were also viewed as requiring the greatest investment to rectify. This included equitable access to information, understanding of disability and the provision of direct assistance and clear protocols (with airlines and airports particularly a focus). The following issues were also raised in response to this question.

Accountability of operators and government jurisdictions to meet compliance

“VCOSS have noted in their submission that there is a lack of accountability by operators to report on their progress. Operators used to be required to report annually in Victoria however this appears to have dropped off in recent years. We should be asking for this to be reinstated and an auditing mechanism is needed”, Geelong, Victoria

“I have been carpeted by the station master and was told that if I want to use his station I will need to access it with a carer. Railcorp were fined. I would like to see a fine system – if a PA system isn’t working and the guard doesn’t do it, fine the guard. The use of complaints mechanisms is important. We need to use the systems in place and it does work”. Sydney

“I would like to see some recommendation that Council is required to assist private public transport operators who make their services more accessible to all community members ie people with disabilities and the aged”, regional NSW

Consistency between states and territories

“There is no national consistency of public transport, with or without these Standards. Each state has the Standards but using them differently”, Melbourne

“Every time there is a new model of conveyance there is a different configuration which means that people who are blind or vision impaired are not sure what they are going to encounter. Every state has their own standards of vehicles and their own specifications. It adds to the cost of the end result – if they have a larger population and buying practice, the approved model would be cheaper in the long run”, Geelong, Victoria

“Greatest need is standardised taxi voucher system along the lines of the m40 Victorian model. Allied with this is the prosecution of drivers refusing to carry dog guides”, South Australia

“Logical infrastructure that works. We need to move away from the taxi subsidy paper vouchers and raise the taxi subsidy cap. The bus. coach and taxi network need to roll out accessible vehicles”, Tasmania

Turning to technological solutions to help make travelling easier until the public transport system is fully compliant

“Common theme that is being raised is identifying what it is in front of you. The Standards should be specifying the usability of communications. For example, a signal which would advise whether the taxi is engaged which could be done using near field communication. Near field communication can be used at a low range, say 20 metres and only people who want to pick up that information can tune into it. We need to look at innovative solutions and applications that are accessible for all users”, Melbourne
“I don’t use much public transport now that I am retired. I know there are taxi apps and train apps. And for people who use those apps, that’s certainly quite helpful”, NSW

“Using technological advances to make the system more accessible.
The Government should spend more on technology to make the system accessible for people with disabilities. People with disabilities can't afford the technology to work-around the lack of transport technology, like having to buy a Smartphone to use apps (other than the Govt apps) to make using transport accessible”, Brisbane

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